PARIS, February 27. /TASS/. In a phone conversation with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, French President Emmanuel Macron urged him to refrain from supporting the Russian military operation in Ukraine and press for soonest withdrawal of Russian forces, the Elysee Palace said in a statement.
"The President of the French Republic requested the President of Belarus to demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from Belarusian soil as quickly as possible," because, in France’s opinion, this leads to "a unilateral and unjust war."
Besides, Macron stressed the need to cooperate with the international community "in carrying out humanitarian operations to come to the aid of the Ukrainian people."
Also, the French leader condemned the possible deployment of Russian nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus. However, according to an earlier report by BelTA, the Belarusian leader ruled out the possibility "as long as no one is trying to strangle the people of Belarus."
Macron also urged Lukashenko to "refuse to be Russia’s vassal and de facto accomplice in the war against Ukraine," reminding him of "brotherhood between the Belarusian and Ukrainian peoples."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories. Its objectives are demilitarization and denazification of the country.
After the announcement, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and some other countries announced they were imposing sanctions on Russian officials and individuals.